The ongoing narrative in golf always seems to be about the state of the game. Is the game fading? What needs to be done to grow the game? Is golf dying? Is it the Tiger effect? Is the real estate crash to blame?
Several ideas are tossed around:
- Make the hole bigger!
- Only play six holes…
- Putt with flagstick in…
- Change the golf ball!
Seabrook Island is a private golf community near Charleston, South Carolina. There are 36 holes of golf and quality practice facilities complete with short game area and a large putting green. A child fortunate to grow up at Seabrook or spend summers there is likely to develop a love for the game, but Seabrook doesn’t leave it to chance.
Here are some of the ways Brian Thelan, head golf professional at Seabrook Island gets kids on the golf course:
- Children under the age of 12 may play at no charge when playing with an adult after 12 p.m.
- U.S. Kids rental sets are complimentary for juniors
- There is a special set of tees in the fairway for juniors; the gold tees play approximately 4,100 yards and the blue tees play approximately 3,000 yards. This allows juniors to play forward with a standard scorecard.
- During the summer, the club hosts weekly junior coaching sessions for two age groups: five to 10 and 11 to 14 Seabrook is a host site for The Tommy Cuthbert All Star Championship, an invitational event for the winners of each junior chapter from the Hootie and the Blowfish Chapter Series
- Seabrook is a host site for the AAAA Regional Girls Golf Championship
It’s almost as if there is panic about the decline of the game.
Golf’s teachings: respect, honor, etiquette, patience and comradery are important. Without golf, there’s understandable concern that future generations might miss out on these traits. The lame golf jokes told on tee boxes alone make it special, and then there are the business networking and lifelong exercise benefits. And of course the feeling of smoking a driver down the middle or draining a long putt to win a match… it’s a lovely game…
Perhaps there isn’t panic about saving the game, maybe it’s more about preserving its lessons.
If every golf course offered free golf for children under 12 when playing with an adult and offered free U.S. Kids rental sets, would that help grow the game? Yes.